Cristiano Ronaldo faces a class-action lawsuit targeting at least $1 billion in damages after promoting cryptocurrency exchange Binance’s NFTs (non-fungible tokens). A lawsuit was filed this past Monday in the Southern District of Florida which alleges that the Portugal international’s promotion of Binance and its products was “deceptive and unlawful.”
According to the plaintiffs claim, Binance’s association with big names such as Ronaldo led people into making expensive and unwise investments. “Evidence now reveals that Binance’s fraud was only able to reach such heights through the offer and sale of unregistered securities, with the willing help and assistance of some of the wealthiest, powerful and recognized organizations and celebrities across the globe—just like Defendant Ronaldo,” reads Monday’s suit.
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Ronaldo’s CR7 NFT collection launched last year pre-FIFA 2022 World Cup and the NFTs typically ranged from $77 to $10,000 and focused on iconic moments from his career. Binance’s partnership with Ronaldo was “incredibly successful” according to the suit which also claims that online searches for “Binance” were boosted by as much as 500% after the CR7 NFTs.
Premium-level NFTs in the collection sold out within the opening week according to the suit and Ronaldo is also said to have not disclosed how much Binance has paid him for the partnership. Celebrities are required by federal law to disclose publicly how much they are earning to promote securities such as crypto assets as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission already pointed out.
NFTs are digital images with an attached version number which adds it to a cryptocurrency blockchain which makes them “unique” collectible items. The short-lived NFT boom has massively impacted the cryptocurrency market which is now scarred by controversies and market collapses.
Binance has been accused of operating as an unregistered securities exchange which violates multiple U.S. securities laws in a lawsuit from regulators. Just last week the crypto exchange agreed to pau around $4 billion in settlement and founder Changpeng Zhao stepped down as CEO while pleading guilty to a felony related to money laundering on the platform and his failure to prevent it.
Larry David and Tom Brady were named as defendants in a class-action suit against FTX before its November 2022 collapse with the suit arguing that celebrity status made them culpable for promoting FTX and its failed business model. Ronaldo still promotes Binance on his official website and social media platforms.